OPINION: Get the vaccine, save lives

Illustration by Adamaris Sanchez/The Et Cetera

Illustration by Adamaris Sanchez/The Et Cetera

Many people still do not feel they need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but with vaccines available it is unnecessary to be putting your life and your family’s lives at risk.

Getting vaccinated is the one thing that can make everything close to normal again and prevent more deaths from this virus.

Ryan Dare, a doctor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, told NBC News in July his unvaccinated COVID-19 patients say “if they could do it all over again, [they] would have had the vaccine in a second.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccines are “effective at protecting you from COVID-19, especially severe illness and death.”

In March 2020, just a few months after we learned about COVID-19 in the United States, I started to feel ill. My throat was sore. I lost all my energy. I became fatigued easily and out of breath. I felt like an elephant was pushing down on my chest.

After telling my physician the symptoms, he told me that I needed to get a COVID-19 test. The thought of having this new virus was scary for me. While I waited for my results to come back, the fear of having COVID-19 and what could happen haunted me.

Then the results came back positive.

Thankfully, the people I had been in contact with tested negative. But I was out of work for three weeks.

As my illness continued, I began to lose my sense of taste and smell and developed an excruciating headache. The fatigue dragged on for almost the whole time I was sick. I could not even fold an item of laundry without being out of breath and having to take a break.

I was frightened I would never get better, and I questioned how I would be able to pay my bills since I didn’t know how long I would miss work.

I eventually had to be put on a leave of absence and my paycheck was reduced. Then my medical expenses started to pile up. After about the second week, things started to look better for me.

My sore throat and headache went away, and I started to get some energy back. However, my sense of taste and smell were still gone. I was worried that they would never come back, but eventually they both did after three weeks.

Now I am vaccinated and do not have any lingering side- effects of COVID-19. If the vaccine would have been around when I caught COVID, I probably would not have missed as much work and I would not have felt as horrible as I did. Now I know if I catch COVID-19 again, the vaccine will stop me from getting severe symptoms.

Everyone wants to go back to how it was before the pandemic. Getting vaccinated is the only way to do that.

— Mikaela Harkins is a contributor and a science major